United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. ROGERS, III, Magistrate Judge.
appeal from a denial of social security benefits is before
the court for a Report and Recommendation
("Report") pursuant to Local Civil Rule
73.02(B)(2)(a) (D.S.C.). Plaintiff brought this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Â§ 405(g) and Â§ 1383(c)(3) to obtain
judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security ("Commissioner") denying his claim
for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB"). The two
issues before the court are whether the Commissioner's
findings of fact are supported by substantial evidence and
whether the appropriate legal standards were applied. For the
reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that the
Commissioner's decision be reversed and remanded for
further proceedings as set forth herein.
February 14, 2012, Plaintiff filed an application for
Disability Insurance Benefits alleging disability beginning
July 1, 2011. Tr. 10, 140-145. His application was denied
initially and upon reconsideration. Tr. at 119-121. On June
6, 2013, Plaintiff appeared at a hearing before
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Ethan A. Chase.
Tr. at 58-86. On June 18, 2013, the ALJ issued an unfavorable
decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled within the
meaning of the Act. Tr. at 10-20. Subsequently, the Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, making the
ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner for
purposes of judicial review. Tr. at 1-5. Thereafter,
Plaintiff brought this action seeking judicial review of the
Commissioner's decision in a complaint filed on November
6, 2014. (Doc. # 1).
Plaintiff's Background and Medical History
was 35 years old on the alleged onset date of disability. Tr.
at 19. He has a limited education. Id . Plaintiff
has no past relevant work at the sedentary level as he has
previously worked as a landscaper, a fruit washer, an
unloader for a scrap metal operator, and a laborer for an
office supply company. Tr. at 19; Pl. Br. at 4. Plaintiff
alleges he has been unable to work since July 11, 2011. Tr.
has alleged disability due to physical impairments related to
both his back and hip, as well as problems with his vision.
Tr. 169. The record documents Plaintiff's treatment for
his various conditions. While the undersigned typically
provides a detailed summary of a plaintiff's medical
history, such a summary is rendered superfluous in this case
because remand is warranted on a narrow issue.
hearing on June 6, 2013, in addition to testimony regarding
his physical issues, Plaintiff testified that he went to the
7th and 8th grade, and was in special education classes. He
indicates that he cannot read and write, and that he has
difficulty understanding things. (Tr. 73).
wife also testified that Plaintiff has poor comprehension. He
is able to read basic words. However, she testified that when
Plaintiff was working, she had to fill out his job
applications for him. Plaintiff's wife testified that
Plaintiff does not understand his 4th grade daughter's
school work, and she (his wife) always has to go with him to
doctors because he doesn't understand what they have
discussed. (Tr. 78).
decision dated June 18, 2013, the ALJ made the following
findings of fact and conclusions of law:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2013.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since July 11, 2011, the alleged onset date (20 CFR
404.1571 et seq. ).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
degenerative disc disease (DDD), status post total hip
arthroplasty (THA), and loss of visual acuity (20 CFR
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1 (20 CF 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find
that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to
perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a). The
claimant can lift up to 10 pounds occasionally, stand or walk
for approximately 2 hours of an 8-hour workday, and sit for
approximately 6 hours of an 8-hour workday with normal
breaks. The claimant is limited to no more than occasional
balancing, bending, crawling, crouching, kneeling, and
climbing of ramps or stairs, but can never engage in the
climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He should avoid all
exposure to heights and hazards, and cannot engage in work
that requires driving. The claimant should not work with
small objects, fine print, or other objects that require fine